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What is Gold?

What is Gold?

Gold From a Scientific and Historic Perspective


In 2013, scientists discovered evidence that suggests Gold comes from the collisions of ultra-dense objects called neutron stars after witnessing a short gamma-ray burst (GRB) 3.9 billion light-years away. After the brief flash of light, astronomers observed radioactive afterglow that produced huge quantities of heavy metals, like Gold. Calculations suggest the explosion produced 20 Earth-masses worth of Gold.

On Earth, however, Gold only exists in the crust at 5 parts per billion. It is often found as nuggets or particles in the beds of streams. Most of what is here are thought to have arrived with asteroids and meteorites.

Our fascination with Gold existed long before 2013. According to Gold historian Timothy Green, Gold has been mined for more than 6,000 years. It is estimated that roughly 165,000 metric tons of Gold have been mined throughout history. Gold’s unique elemental properties give it a special luster, durability, malleability and aversion to rust and erosion that make it one of the most sought-after metals in the world.

Gold Periodic Table

In the periodic table, elements are grouped according to electronic structure. The Gold periodic table placement is in period 6 (horizontal row) and family 11 (vertical column), along with other coinage metals like Silver and Copper. These metals are great for circulation because they have excellent wear resistance. Shared properties with the Gold element include being inert, corrosion-resistant metals with low electrical resistivity.


What is Gold?